disneyhole.org pirasite.org

The DisneyHole Project was my response to a giant hole that was left in the middle of Center City Philadelphia by the failure of a proposed "DisneyQuest" virtual theme park, and also to the typically Philadelphian "Pay-To-Play" nature of the interactions between the developer and the City. Walking past the Hole one day (actually; around the hole, since there were no sidewalks), I thought it would be a great idea to put a scaled-up version of my sculpture "Business As Usual" on a rotating platform in the Hole as a monument to the corruption and bureaucratic idiocy that the failed project exemplified.

As I worked on a digital rendering of my proposal it began to expand in my mind into something much more elaborate: the Museum Of Corporate Welfare. This idea demanded a sponsoring organization (CASHCOW, the Center for the Advanced Study of Huge Corporations On Welfare) and a Website, which I started work on. As I worked, I thought "If I have an idea for the Hole, I wonder if other people have been thinking about it too?" so I decided to include an open call for proposals in my project, and I created an "organization", the Philadelphia Industrial Redevelopment Authority, (which, of course, had to have it's own Website) to put out the call.

This ended up taking most a year to pull together. When I finally started sending out press releases I was gratified by a great response from the press, and by a flood of amazing proposals. We had a rush-hour showing of most of the proposals on the chain-link fence surrounding the Hole, which went beautifully and had many passersby stopping to look, and to talk about the Hole and the proposals. After taking the proposals to a small Center City gallery where they were shown for a few weeks I collapsed, completely exhausted. I continued with the project as much as I could; putting the proposals up on the PIRA Website (though not all of them, as I discovered to my embarrassment while preparing to show them in my "Corporacist" show in October of 2004) and talking with people about where to go with the project and the proposals. I had hoped to put together a print or digital collection of all of the proposals to present to the City, but I was broke, burned-out, and wanting to move on the other projects. I had to get back to working for money, and I also started to play with some of the other projects I had been putting off. Soon after this the City loaned the failed developer more money to fill in the Hole and turn it back into what it was before the millions were spent digging it: a flat parking lot.

I feel bad about letting the DisneyHole Project die, but I guess I learned something about not taking on a huge project all by myself that should have involved lots of people. Looking through the proposals again I'm amazed and delighted all over again by the creativity and diversity of the proposals and the people who submitted them.
The Web presence of the project is divided into two sites: disneyhole.org which is devoted to my proposal, and pirasite.org the "organization" Website where all of the proposals from other people are archived. Pirasite.org is a "ream" of an existing organization's Website; I grabbed a Philadelphia development organization's site off of the Web, changed the graphics, and put it back up at a different address as the site for my imaginary organization. Disneyhole.org uses some graphics from the actual DisneyQuest Website, but I decided against the "ream" approach because fooling people into thinking that the Museum Of Corporate Welfare was a Disney project would have made it into a different project than the one I was working on. The site has an awkward visual style that I like to use to undermine the authority that a slick-looking site gives to a project. I still think about doing something more with the proposals, and about expanding the Museum Of Corporate Welfare proposal, if I can just find the time...


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